President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: A few days ago, I signed amendments to the law on basic guarantees of the rights of children. Those amendments provide for additional means to guarantee such rights on both a national and regional level, including through surveillance. Given the specifics of how the Prosecutor General’s Office operates, please report on the measures you suggest for enforcing this law and supervising its strict observance.
Prosecutor General Yury Chaika: The amendments to the law on basic guarantees are right on target. Over 500,000 offences against minors have been registered annually.
[Further, Yury Chaika reported to the President of his relevant instructions to the chief prosecutors of constituent entities of the Russian Federation regarding preparations for a coordination meeting by law enforcement agencies on juvenile delinquency and on supervision over execution of laws concerning minors on the national scale.]
We continuously monitor the situation in regard to minors and the overall compliance with legislation on protection of individuals’ rights and lawful interests.
Dmitry Medvedev: I would like to call special attention to this amended law on guarantees of the rights of children. This is a complicated issue. In general, the public wants us to leave this kind of authority in the hands of the federal constituent entities; this includes authority over activities by children who are out [at night].
And indeed, this law has worked quite well in the federal constituent entities where it has been applied: criminal activity by minors has decreased, and children are better protected from the dangers that may occur on the streets.
At the same time, the Prosecutor General’s Office must ensure the applied regulations are not excessive, as we all must understand that minors may only be subjected to standard rules that apply to regular people appearing in public places. Therefore every step must be carefully balanced and made in a strict conformity with the legislation, in order not to cause new problems brought about by an improper law implementation. Supervising the issue will be the duty of the Prosecutor General’s Office.
Yury Chaika: I understand. It is true that problems may occur, because most constituent territories do not have experience with this law.
Dmitry Medvedev: We do not need a scenario of police nabbing every minor they see. That is not the kind of approach that we want. We just need to have a set of regulations that are followed, and it would be best if these regulations were followed voluntarily, same as any other requirements. Disregard for these regulations would be subject to penalties, but we do not want them to turn into crusades.
Yury Chaika: That is what we will do.
Dmitry Medvedev: Very well.
There is another topic that I would like to bring up in our discussion. Several days ago our warship, the frigate Admiral Panteleyev, arrested some pirates [in the Gulf of Aden]. I believe that we must look into this problem as it relates to our criminal law and our criminal proceedings, and perhaps look into creating a separate international practice to address piracy. I think your office, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other relevant agencies should get in touch with your colleagues abroad to discuss the possible options for bringing pirates to justice. Often, the countries that these pirates come from are not taking any measures to curtail this criminal activity; indeed, they often create environments that are conducive to these crimes. Piracy affects a great deal of people and a significant number of shipping companies, as well as the interests of many countries.
That is why I feel that we must look into all options, including, perhaps, an international court for piracy. Now that we have arrested these pirates, we must figure out what to do next. After all, they can be prosecuted under various laws. This ends up being the kind of international problem that may require a conference or, as I said, perhaps even the creation of some kind of independent international judicial authority.
We are ready to work on this problem with our international colleagues. I have spoken about it with my partners, and our navy is working in coordination with other countries’ navy forces. But we need more than military action, as we can always use physical force against pirates. We need a classification of piracy related problems in terms of law and we need to ensure proper prosecution of those committing such crimes as well. Please consider this matter.
Yury Chaika: Russian law allows prosecution of non-Russian citizens committing offences against Russian nationals outside Russia. They may be prosecuted in Russia under our Criminal Code and its Article 227 on piracy.
There is a different aspect to the problem, though. You are absolutely right when you say that there may be various complications, such as bringing formal charges, establishing identity, etc. – i.e., difficulties regarding legal procedures.
Dmitry Medvedev: Clearly. This is particularly relevant because so many countries are suffering as a result of piracy, so I feel that the answer to this problem lies not only in responding with physical force, but also in providing a judicial response to what is happening – a consolidated, joint response. Please consider this and discuss it with your international colleagues.
Yury Chaika: Very well, we will bring up this matter with the Council of Europe and others.
Dmitry Medvedev: Thank you.